Home News Marine Sgt Major indicted on hate crime charges

Marine Sgt Major indicted on hate crime charges


Sergeant Major Damien T. Rodriguez

A Marine Corps sergeant major has been indicted on assault and hate-crime charges following a racially motivated attack after allegedly assaulting a server in an Iraqi restaurant.

Marine Corps Sergeant Major Damien T. Rodriguez was serving at 1st Battalion, 11th Marines during the time of the attack, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Rodriguez was originally charged with a harassment and second-degree disorderly conduct and intimidation, a hate crime in Oregon. However, the District Attorney’s Office dropped the misdemeanor charges and instead pursued felony charges, according to the Times.

According to KGW, the owners of DarSalam restaurant reported that the diners came in on Friday, acting bizarre. The owners said that the patrons used racial slurs and didn’t order any food for almost an hour. Then suddenly one of the men grabbed a chair and assaulted the server.

The incident was captured on video (below).

Damien Rodriguez told Police he suffered from PTSD and took Ritalin and Propranolol for his condition.

Rodriguez was indicted on several charges according to the Times:

  • one count of assault in the second degree
  • one count of disorderly conduct in the second degree
  • two counts of intimidation in the second degree (hate crime)

Rodriguez is facing 10 years in prison if convicted. His next court appearance is set for September.

The Marine Corps released a statement to the Times, “The 1st Marine Division will continue to assist the Portland District Attorney with this matter,” Gainey said. “The Marine Corps does not tolerate disorderly conduct or bad behavior from its Marines or senior leaders and expects all Marines to uphold the highest of principles and ethical behavior, both on and off duty.”

Rodriguez had previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rodriguez’ bio as listed previously on the 1st Marine Division website.

Sergeant Major Rodriguez enlisted in the Marine Corps on 26 September 1995, and underwent recruit training with 2nd Battalion, Echo Company, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. Upon completion of recruit training, Private First Class Rodriguez attended the School of Infantry, where he attained the Military Operational Specialty of 0311, Rifleman.

In April of 1996, Private First Class Rodriguez executed orders to Enlisted Instructor Company, The Basic School Quantico, Virginia. During this assignment, Private First Class Rodriguez served in a variety of billets to include, Navigation Man, Automatic Rifleman, and Team Leader. He was also selected as the Basic School’s Marine of the quarter twice.

In September of 1997, Lance Corporal Rodriguez executed orders to Company C, 1st Battalion 7th Marine Regiment, 29 Palms California, and was promoted to the rank of Corporal. In February of 1998 he deployed as part of the Unit Deployment Program to Okinawa Japan and Fuji Japan while serving as a squad leader and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. In 2000 he deployed once again to Okinawa Japan, and Thailand as part of Operation Cobra Gold, where he served as squad leader and Navigation man for a four-day long range patrol through Bhan Chan Krem, on the Cambodian border. On his return to CONUS, Sergeant Rodriguez took over the Weapon’s Platoon as Platoon Sergeant.

In September of 2000, Sergeant Rodriguez executed orders to Drill Instructor school. During his tour of duty as a Drill Instructor, he served as a Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor with 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Hotel Company, and was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 2002.

In 2003 orders he received Temporary Assigned duty orders to the United States Army Airborne School in Fort Benning Georgia where he completed the Basic Army Airborne Course.

In January of 2004, he received orders to 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, and immediately deployed with Golf Company to Ar Ramadi Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the seventh month deployment his Battalion was engaged in heavy urban combat.

In 2005 he deployed as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) while serving as Platoon Sergeant and took part in Balakatan in the Philippines. Upon his return to Okinawa, he served as Chief Instructor for the Corporals Leadership Course.

In 2006 he deployed as part of the 15th MEU aboard the USS Boxer while serving as Mobile Assault Platoon (MAP) Sergeant, Weapons Company. During this deployment Staff Sergeant Rodriguez went to many countries and then back into Iraq for the “surge,” into Al Anbar Province. Prior to returning back to CONUS he was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.

In 2008 he received orders to Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) where he served as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the Raids and Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) section. In April of 2010 he was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant and received orders to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in 29 Palms California.

In November of 2010 First Sergeant Rodriguez deployed as Company First Sergeant for Company A (Apache Company), to Helmand Province Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2012 Frist Sergeant Rodriguez deployed as H&S Company First Sergeant back to Helmand Province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

First Sergeant Rodriguez received orders in October of 2012 to the School of Infantry (west), where he served as the Company First Sergeant of Company C, Infantry Training Battalion and the School First Sergeant of Combat Instructor School.

In November 2015 he was promoted to Sergeant Major and received orders to 1st Battalion 11the Marines where he served as the Battalion Sergeant Major.

His personal awards include: the Bronze Star Medal with combat ‘V’ for valor, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold stars in lieu of second award.

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  1. Looks like to me the Marine Corps could have stepped in and supported this Marine to get him some help instead of throwing him under the bus! I don’t think the whole story is being told here! I have never known a senior Marine of this caliber to go off half cocked unless they themselves felt threatened! Served his country honorably & now when he needs help no one is there! Sad.

  2. This is BS! this man protected the USand at no time was he shown how to rejoin and retrain his mind that has been taught to KILL KILL KILL the enemy, PTSD is REAL! Someone needs to step up and help this man. People in this country commit henious crimes against children in this country everyday and get a slap on the wrist, this man has fought to defend us from harm and he was only doing what he though in his mind was what he should be doing. You can’t turn off PTSD! 22!


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